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“And Now a Word from Our Sponsors”


By: MPI Toronto Chapter Board of Directors | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Jan 25, 2017

After years of donating money, services, and goods, sponsors want more than logos on screens or a thank you from the evening’s MC. But why is this happening now?  Like most corporations sponsors are being asked to do more with less.  Money is tight and getting tighter. To open up a fist full of dollars to any one of the 170, 000 charitable and non-profit organizations in Canada, a sponsor must now have a lot to show for their generosity and support.  Indeed, marketing-department mavens are calling the shots:  get 3X the amount of return on money invested or we will invest it elsewhere.  
To achieve such a return on their investment, sponsors are now asking for customized proposals rather than the traditional sponsorship package.  First, they want to know why the organization requesting their money and services is a good match.  If the fit is good, then they will request information on attendees prior to the event and will be looking for opportunities to showcase their brand.  This now passes the ball back to the organization, making it incumbent upon them to understand a sponsor’s values, particularly how a sponsor wants to be perceived by event goers.  Gone are the days when an organization simply asks a sponsor to fit one of their gold, silver, or bronze packages, especially given the competition for support that has ushered in an era of donor fatigue.  In short, organizations need to make extremely well-informed and creative pitches, which brings us to a word I, myself, have coined: “sponsor-tainment”

Laser-Caramelized MacaronsIn the current environment, companies want entertainment or activities that align with their brand. This includes everything from a laser-caramelized custom design on a macaron, to glass-blown giveaways created onsite by a flame artist, from simple face-art designs on entertainers, to custom–logoed kick drum heads for bands. What’s more, live music at breakfast and lunch is a favourite at many early-morning convention starts. Or why not let sponsorship visibility be given greater impact in a big-bang 5-minute opener or in the highlights of a 10-minute finale.

In a word, sponsoring companies now want to be seen as cutting edge and sophisticated - in step with the planet’s uncompromising digital revolution. Once again, gone is the old tried and true. Instead of a traditional photo booth doing quick photos of the attendees, how about a photo experience that sets you up in live-action scenario to battle your favorite villain. Even the CEO could take part in this.  Who other than a photo-booth company would be behind such sponsor-tainment?  Not a costume company, entertainment agency, or even a comic book store.  In our case it was an insurance company wanting to show off the fact that they were young, hip and cool.

Carol Priest is a the Creative Director of  Talent Resources at CPE ( Carol Priest Entertainment ) and the Winner of Canadian Special Events 2016 Readers Choice Awards for “ Favorite Entertainment Company”. You can reach her at


MPI Toronto Chapter Board of Directors | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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